Are you getting that familiar craving too often? You hate cigarettes, you do not drink alcohol, and you do not do drugs. You may not even like coffee. But, you sure love eating a lot of chocolate and sweets. Well, anything sweet or delicious. Or both. Yes, you may be addicted to sugar.
A common indication that you are addicted to sugar is the frequency in which you find yourself craving for anything sweet and comforting that would give you a boost. In this case the energy boost drops pretty soon after and you end up craving for something sweet once again. It’s a vicious cycle. Is this you?
If yes, it is no wonder. Stores are loaded with tempting and innocent sugary delicacies. However, these are far from being innocent.
Some believe that sugar is as addictive as crack cocaine. You may be thinking, “Yeah ok, but sugar is not as detrimental to my health as much as an illegal drug, right?” Maybe not at the beginning, but you may not be quite aware of the damaging effect sugar has on overall health.
Why should you avoid sugar?
- Let’s start with the most obvious reason. It is highly calorific, and not very filling. We bet that you are not satisfied after eating only one Krispy Kreme doughnut. This is why most people over-eat sweet things.
- Sugar affects immunity. Consuming sugary foods and drinks on a daily basis stops the immune system from working properly.
- Sugar induces inflammation, which leads to pain, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
- Sugar damages teeth and causes tooth decay.
- Sugar hinders the release of human growth hormone, and thus accelerates aging.
As scary as those points were, don’t feel too ashamed of your sugar habit. We’re only humans, and there’s no shame in admitting that now and again – we like to snuggle up in front of the TV with a tub of ice cream.
However, you should be careful of what you put in your body. So read the following that may help you quit sugar and feel both happy and healthy.
Tricks to avoid sugar for good:
- Eat regularly
Because we are often very busy, we tend to eat irregularly. For many people, if they don’t eat regularly, their blood sugar levels drop, they feel hungry and are more likely to crave sugary snacks. Eating three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day will help you to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Eating a good breakfast is essential to prevent sugar cravings. Instead of having carbs and sugary foods for breakfast, include in your breakfast protein, healthy fat, fruits or vegetables. Try to include healthy fat and protein with each meal, as it helps control blood sugar levels.
- Detox your body
When people do a detox and eliminate sugar from their diet, it often decreases their sugar cravings. Although the initial reaction is sugar cravings, which can be overwhelming, our body adjust itself and the desire for sugar will disappear. If you want some interesting detox tips, check The Detox Guide for more useful info. This guide will help you cleanse and energize your body naturally without any side effects.
- Emotional eating
Every time you are in a bad mood, stressed or anxious, it seems like you need to drown in sugar. The most important thing is to be honest with yourself and carefully manage any emotional issues around your sugar addiction. Be fully aware of the food you eat, and ask yourself some important questions – are you eating out of boredom, or because you are worried or stressed.
If the answer to your question is “yes,” seek for another solution instead of eating. You can go for a walk, read, drink some coffee with a friend, do yoga, watch a movie, listen to some music, or walk your dog. Do the things you love, find someone you love and care about. Each of these will decrease your desire to eat sweets.
- Avoid processed foods
These are packed with sugar. Some foods that seem to not have any sugar actually contain more sugar than sweets. Carefully read the labels and have a closer look at what you put in your body.
- Mineral deficiency
As explained on Livestrong website, trace mineral deficiency, including lack of chromium, vanadium, magnesium and zinc may be the reason for your sugar cravings. These minerals are largely involved in glucose metabolism and insulin production.
Chromium deficiency causes intense sugar cravings. Lean meat, asparagus, cheese, molasses, brewer’s yeast and whole grains are some of the richest natural sources of chromium.
Magnesium regulates glucose and insulin. If you lack magnesium, you probably deal with cravings for sweet stuff, especially chocolate. Spinach, Lima beans, almonds, hazelnuts, oat bran and brown rice are the richest sources of magnesium.
Your muscles need vanadium to obtain enough glucose and energy and it also regulates insulin production. Vanadium deficiency is also the cause of sugar cravings. Vanadium is highly concentrated in shellfish, mushrooms, dill, parsley, wine, beer, and whole grain products.
Zinc aids in proper insulin and glucose utilization. Zinc deficiency decreases insulin levels which leads to sugar cravings. Zinc is contained in beef, pork, oysters, lobster, yoghurt, chickpeas, almonds and oatmeal.
- Sleep enough
For those who try to maintain a healthy weight and quit sugar, lack of sleep is not recommended at all. Fatigue makes people hungrier, and people who don’t sleep enough hours tend to consume hundreds of calories more a day (much of it in the form of unhealthy sweet foods). You can find here more information about the damages of sleep deprivation.
7. Watch out for sugar substitutes
This includes ‘healthy sugar’ too, such as honey, maple syrup, or molasses. They may contain more nutrients than the refined white stuff, but unfortunately, sugar is sugar, and once it is in your body, it turns into what? You said it – sugar. Using stevia leaves is the best option, although some people don’t like the taste of it.
- Think twice before buying dried fruits
They seem like a healthier alternative than cake and sure provide many health benefits, but a lot of calories and sugar as well. Although they are a healthier option, try and avoid a high intake of dried fruits.
Our point is to be aware of portion size and not exaggerate the amount you eat. If you cannot handle your craving, eat some fresh fruit instead. It will keep you satisfied and it is a lot healthier.